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Love as a Practice of Peace: The Political Theologies of Tolstoy, Gandhi and King

  • Liane HartnettEmail author
Chapter
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Part of the International Political Theory book series (IPoT)

Abstract

Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910), Mohandas Gandhi (1869–1948) and Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968) each espoused love as a practice of peace. In the twentieth century, Tolstoy’s ‘law of love’ was to inspire civil disobedience internationally; Mohandas Gandhi’s ahimsa comprised an important element of the Indian independence movement, and Martin Luther King’s conception of love formed the cornerstone of his civil rights activism in the U.S. These continuities are not a coincidence. Tolstoy’s influence on Gandhi and Gandhi’s influence on King have been well documented. What has formed less of a focus are the distinct theological underpinnings and articulations of love, and consequently, praxes of pacifism. This chapter offers an engagement with this transnational history of love and non-violence and its various transmutations in the thought of three significant figures of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It seeks to illuminate how a thematic focus on love renders visible a more plural politics and a more expansive international.

Keywords

Love Peace Tolstoy Gandhi King 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of GlasgowGlasgowUK

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